What’s It All About, Alfie?

IMG_0823Egads, I’m dating myself with that headline. Ok, I was in high school when the movie came out in 1966.

But it’s a question I am asking myself often these days. What am I doing with all this letterpress equipment? When I first took classes last year, I fell in love with the tactile art of letterpress, the¬†slowing down as I manipulated¬†type and paper. I knew I had to have a press.

Now I have two. And 100 lbs of metal type, two trays of wood type (incomplete), furniture, a Boxcar base and assorted paraphernalia. The press equipment has almost taken over my writing studio. But I’m drawn to it like my cat to its fuzzy toy.

My friend, Emily, asked me an appropriate question before I bought my Pearl. “What do you want to do with it?” she asked. The answer would determine what kind and whether I bought a second press- well, that, and the fact that our studio is on the second floor so weight had to play a part in my purchase!

I thought back to a few months ago, shortly after I printed my first card. Someone saw it and asked if I could create 30 cards as gifts for volunteers for our Main Street organization. When I finished, I knew I wanted to continue creating prints. Now, I sell some in our studio, and I’m working on setting up an Etsy shop. I may take some cards and posters around town to local bookstores and gift shops to see if they are interested in selling them as well. Some are of my favorite quotes by authors and philosophers; other prints are geared toward holidays.

I know what I DON’T want to do–weddings! As much as I like fooling around with Adobe Illustrator, I realize how much of a control freak I am about my own work. As one of my teachers printed on a poster: “I want to make beautiful things even if no one cares.”

So I spend my days getting my hands full of ink, moving type around in the chase, and creating cards and posters that I love. I discovered early on that I’d need to find the right audience for my poetry. It will be the same with printing. Not everyone will love everything you do. If you don’t create for yourself, you’ll wrap yourself in expectations and get frustrated.

However it ends up, I am loving this journey of self-discovery!